What’s your Story? Here’s my ECI 830 journey.

So what’s my story?  What did I learn?  ECI 830 has provided many thought provoking opportunities for reflection on the Ed Tech world.  Here’s my attempt to try and sum up my learning journey.  Because Alec & Katia classes are different than my Blackboard based U of S Educational Technology and Design  (ETAD) classes, I’ve included a short section at the start of the video that highlights how we learn in this class.  It will be added to my ETAD Portfolio because after I’m brave enough to post my summary of learning and share my last debate reflection this will conclude class 9 of 10 on my ETAD journey.  Next up is an independent study on Leadership – Is there a difference between our face to face and online worlds?

So here’s my video….
—The first part is more my style and then, like a fellow ECI 830 student mentioned, I stepped way outside my comfort zone and attempted to rewrite a song.  (I should mention my husband plays in a band (guitar and vocals)… I don’t sing…in public…or very loud… so this is way outside my comfort zone – hopefully your ears are okay after;)  It’s hiding at the end of the video.

–I’ve attempted to rewrite & perform the Johnny Cash version of I won’t Back Down – It’s now called, “I Will Step In.”  Special thanks to my husband, David, for recording the guitar & background vocals and not laughing at me while I attempted to sing it:)  He helped edit the musical track together for the song. (It was quite the process, first he recorded the guitar track, then I had to sing, then he added the harmonies… glad he’s a DJ, rockstar, shop teacher. And did I mention… he always sings the Johnny Cash songs that the band plays – he said it was important for me to sing my story.)

All images included in the video are sourced from Pixabay Creative Commons CC0 & Screenshots by Stephanie

Our debates reminded me of the Story of Two Wolves shared by a Grandfather to his Grandson.

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It’s a terrible fight and it’s between two wolves.”

“One is evil, he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt and ego.

“The other is good, he is joy, peace, love, hope, serentiy, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

“This is the same fight going inside you – and inside every other person, too”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?

He replied simply, “The one you feed.”

There’s always two sides to the story, to the issue – careful which one you feed.

Thank-you for watching!  I truly appreciated learning with everyone!! Truly one of the highlights of my Masters class journey.  I can’t thank you enough for sharing your stories and different perspectives.  It’s truly added to the richness of the class.

Wishing everyone a restful and re-energizing summer and smooth sailing your Masters’ journey.

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No need to keep reading – this is just my reflection on how I came to learn what I did in ECI 830:)  It’s a more detailed description of what I tried to put into video with a top 10 things I learned.


What’s my story? 

The non-video version


Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. – Martin Luther King Jr.

It started with a decision to apply to the ETAD program in April of 2014, a letter welcoming me to the program and the fun of trying to register and figure out classes. Class #1 started in September of 2014, the same day my daughter started Kindergarten.  Coincidentally, the same summer the Color By Amber came to Canada and I started a home based business all while I worked as a Learning Consultant.   Because when opportunity comes along you just have to go for it.

 

Change is an ever present force in our lives and you can either fight it or learn and grow .  So why not step out of your comfort zone and see just want you can do.

Fast forward to the count down to my two remaining classes.  I reached out to Alec Couros to see what might be available at the U of R and he suggested ECI 830 – Contemporary Issues in Educational Technology – one SUGA agreement and a “hey, so we just found out your are in our class from Katia and her I am.  Working on finishing class #9. (Okay this post means the class is almost finished 🙂

The more learning I do the more I find we are all connected by the stories we tell and those that we share. ECI 830 enabled me to step out of my ETAD comfort zone and meet a whole new network of amazingly talented, reflective and creative teachers. So here’s the story of ECI 830….Contemporary Issues in Educational Technology… which is really a fancy way of saying in the world around us;)

Having just finished a full year of amazing Kitchen Parties with the legendary Rick Schwier, I was excited to join my fellow colleagues each Tuesday night at 7 for our Great Ed Tech Debates.

I use zoom with my business team so it was great to see it in action live with an entire class.

Instead of textbook we shared articles each week and instead of lectures we debated ed tech topics.

We shared evidence of our learning through blogs, which is something that I’ve always wanted to do but have just never had the time to do consistently.
We used WordPress to share our ideas and interact with each other.

In ETAD, we typically posted behind the blackboard walls in discussion forums so this provided a public forum for us to share our ideas.

I’ve never met these educators before but they  are shaping my stories by choosing to share theirs.

Twitter gave us another chance to connect and share our ideas and grow our personal learning network.

Finding that online community that energizes and encourages you to grow is like finding a treasure.  Together we shared not only our stories but our articles, blogs, podcasts and TED Talks all intended to help us better understand the Ed Tech issues all around us.

While the class talked about focusing on Ed Tech trends and issues, it’s really a course that any citizen would benefit from.  Our topics don’t just affect our schools and our students, they affect our lives and our children….that’s who our students are.  These issues affect all of us.

Alec and Katia carefully crafted the debate statements to get us to dig deeper and think more reflectively about how the issue affect us and our teaching.

Let’s break that down who’s affected….

You – students, parents, teachers, admin, division, community members…

  • your kids, your family, your friends
  • your social media connections…

The conversations that you have matter and whether you choose to step in or just listen impacts the ripple effect of your legacy.

Does technology enhance learning in the classroom?

Technology is all around us.  It comes in many forms from the pencil with an eraser, scissors, to mobile devices, to the cell phone in your hand, to 3D printers.  There will always be technology.  It’s not inherently bad or good, it’s what you do with the technology you have that has the ability to enhance learning.

Should you teach anything that can be Googled?

Google is an integral part of our lives, if I said just Google it – you’d know what to do.  Does our 24/7 access to information replace what we need to teach?  It all depends how you teach; moreover, how you assess?  If your students can just google the answer, what is it we are teaching them?  Let’s remember that for information to become knowledge we have to think about it – Google doesn’t think about it it’s programmed to find connections – it’s up to us to use our brain to make sense of the world we encounter and as educators it is up to us to reflect on how we authentically assess students in a information based world.

 What we choose to value in the learning process is going to echo forward for years to come.

Our class challenged the notion that memorization is bad, just think of all of the processes you’ve learned that have become automatic.  It’s about what we choose to memorize and the purpose of investing in it.  I’m more of a connectivist – yes there’s knowledge I need to hold in my own brain but there’s also an immense of amount of knowledge that I can connect to in my learning network (Google or the human kind).

Is technology making our kids unhealthy?

Is it making all of us unhealthy? Again it’s developing an awareness.  Each week I find myself stepping back and looking at my world through a more reflective lens. Is my love of technology making me unhealthy? Or rather do I need to be more aware of the lifestyle choices that I am making?  Tech is just a tool – before mobile devices, TVs were bad influences and before that books contained information that might just make us want to stay in one place until we finished the story.

As Audrey Watters pointed out, we always seem to have amnesia when it comes to new technology – as if we are the first ones to struggle with the challenges of tech.  Are our problems must be more significant than those before us.

Isn’t it really about how we choose to use the tech? It’s how I choose to shape my life? You have to find the balance.

Is openness and sharing unfair to our kids?

Again it’s about the choices you make…. although I may be a bit biased.  In a social media, knowledge based world where your life, as Alec pointed out, seems to be public by default and private by effort.  I think we (educators and parents) have to teach our children how to become thoughtful, digital citizens that are aware of how their actions will impact their future.  Every generation has things to learn and learning what and how to share may be one of the top five things to understand. Like the agree side explained, you are essentially creating a digital tattoo that will live years beyond you.

What do you want your legacy to be?

Is technology is a force for equity in society?

Let’s step back from technology – how do you create equity in your classroom?

Tech has the potential to be a force for equity, but it depends on how you use the tools you choose to use, how you choose to use them and the prior knowledge that your students bring to the table.

Equity doesn’t just happen, people consistently choose to look, listen and reflect on the environment they are creating in their class. In a diverse world, it’s important for us to recognize that culture shapes the way our brains make sense of the world.  So you are going to have to step out of your comfort zone and choose to value equity.

This is the week I learned about Storientation = sharing your story builds connections, listening to the stories of others develops trust and being aware of your organization’s story shapes the path you are on.

Like Malcom Gladwell shared in the “Tipping Point” and Chip and Dan Heath explained in “The Switch” – it’s the small consistent choices that we make that truly shape the path and move us toward our goals.  Tech is only one piece of the puzzle.

Is Social Media ruining childhood?

Social media has changed childhood.

As educators and parents, we need to be aware of what we choose to share and the medium we choose to share it in.  If you are choosing what you post on social media, you are branding yourself.  Changing the identity of a brand isn’t easy so learning strategies to think through things before you post is an important strategy in continuing to build a digital footprint. You wouldn’t send your child to the park unsupervised to spend the day with strangers, so use your not so common, common sense.

Make the effort to be aware of the world you live in and make the best choices you can to help build resilient children that have a well developed tool box of strategies to not just cope but thrive in today’s social world.

Has public education sold it’s soul to corporate interests?

Of all the debates this this one opened my eyes… not that I was oblivious to education’s connections to business. It’s part of life. Schools will always need supplies, tools and tech from the non educational world, what tugged at my heart was …it’s not something I actively reflect on very often. I love google, office, windows, android, apple, share point…. I use the tech I have access to – to create the best learning opportunities I can for my students and staff.  If it’s free, all the better… but how do my choices ripple out?  When I choose to use Google Apps because it’s free for education do I ever stop to have the conversation with my students about why I chose this tool?

I’m reminded of a conversation I had with my Coordinator or Student Support Services. Attribution theory – as we reviewed IIPs she reminded me it’s great to explicitly teach students the strategies they need but we also need students to learn to think about why choosing that strategy in that context works.  It’s important for them to attribute their success to choosing the tool or strategy appropriately.

After all if I tried to use one thing for everything, it just wouldn’t work, but if I step back and choose the tool or strategy that best fits the situational need, then I’m more likely to find success.

What have I learned on this journey?

  1. If you are too comfortable with what you know maybe you haven’t thought about it enough
  2. Learning is messy and that’s good.
  3. It’s all about perspective.  We each come to the table with different ideas and strengths and that’s the best part – it’s how we learn by sharing ideas and challenging each other to think outside our comfort zone
  4. If you walk into a room and you think you are the smartest person you are in the wrong room!  You become like those you interact with, so choose to surround yourself with people that are going to challenge you to grow outside your comfort zone in positive ways.
  5. The more I learn the less I know & there’s always more to learn
  6. There’s always two sides to every issue, every story has at least two sides.  It’s important to respect and listen to the challenges and questions raised by those that lie outside your initial zone of comfort…. you always have to listen first.
  7. Dean Benko explained that you have to find the balance – when you do you will find a state of flow.
  8. It’s not about the technology its about what you do with what you have… then again in our last debate … does it matter the kind of tech you have?
  9. Data and information are just that – knowledge is created by individual minds drawing on individual experience.. making value judgements based on their experiences….tech makes info and data easier to access, more visual and what seems at first easier to interpret… but that of course depends on who created the parameters of what to graph out? Just because it looks pretty doesn’t mean it’s any more valid – you have to think critically and look deeper.
  10. Our ultimate goal is to encourage our students (our children) and those around us to become an engaged, multi-literate learners that care enough to think critically about the information, the environment and it’s sources that they encounter and choose to make a decisions based on their experiences.  As Toffler says,  the future belongs to the those who can learn, unlearn and relearn.

To reach the end is really to begin again and write the next chapter.

So here’s to the next chapter. 

to reach the end

 

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It’s time for a bus trip – Technology & Equity – Are they headed in the same direction?

It’s time for a little bus trip as I used to explain to my science students.  I’d say it’s important to try and stay in your seats as best you can, but if you feel that you’ve been bounced out of your seat into the aisle or you are standing at the door ready to jump let me know and have faith that we will circle around and get you back on the bus… and if I’ve run you over with the bus – know that you are okay and we will come back to get you.  Turns out that analogy was one of the best we ever used.  Students weren’t afraid to tell me they were falling off the metaphorical bus.  It was a safe way for them to express their stress.  So tonight’s post is a journey, but stick with me we are going to end up in the parking lot of technological equity 🙂  (And FYI I worked with Grade 10, 11, 12 students) So keep your arms and legs inside the bus:)

The more I learn the less I know for sure?  The Great EdTech debate continued in fine fashion Tuesday night with two intense debates. First up was our discussion of the statement:

Tech Creates Equity in Society?

My first thought …. Does it?  I’m a strong supporter of technology.  It makes sense to me.  It helps me learn.  I’ve seen it work for students, but how often do we stop and think about big picture ideas like this?  Reflection is a key piece of learning how to teach more effectively.

Years ago I worked as a Differentiated Instruction Facilitator (DIF). It was then I had the privileged of learning the role from an amazingly talented DI facilitator. I’ll never forget how valuable the conversations we had with teachers and in particular with each other were to our learning.  Sharing the role gave us us time to process, debrief and examine learning situations from a variety of perspectives. It’s when we had time to step back and look at the bigger picture.  (time… reflection really does take time)  Now… you can have those conversations with yourself and you can blog them like this, but interactive conversation that challenges you to think outside your comfort perspective is priceless, even a little scary, but you will grow (and maybe occasionally get run over by that bus;).

This cartoon reminds me of some of our differentiated learning discussions.

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“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to
climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

Image from Rockin Teacher Materials

Fair doesn’t mean equal.  And equal isn’t the same thing as equity. In Equity vs Equality: 6 Steps Toward Equity, Safir (2016) noted ” If equality means giving everyone the same resources, equity means giving each student access to the resources they need to learn and thrive. As those of us who are parents know, each child is different” (para. 6).  It seems like a relatively simple concept – differentiation. I appreciate Carol Ann Tomlinson’s explanation:

The idea of differentiating instruction to accommodate the different ways that students learn involves a hefty dose of common sense, as well as sturdy support in the theory and research of education (Tomlinson & Allan, 2000). It is an approach to teaching that advocates active planning for student differences in classrooms.

Common sense:) That’s important in so many aspects.

Safir recommended 6 steps to help create equity.

  1. Know Every Child
  2. Become a warm demander
  3. Practice lean-in assessment
  4. Flex your routines
  5. Make it safe to fail
  6. View culture as a resource “Culture, it turns out, is the way the brain makes sense of the world.”

You’ve heard all of her points before, but as Malcom Gladwell explained in The Tipping Point – in the end it’s the relatively small things done consistently that cause change to tip. I did however learn a new word 🙂 Storientation.  Safir (2015) elaborated in “The Power of Story in School Transformation” that by paying close attention to people’s stories you can transform your classroom.  She highlighted 3 types:

  • Your Story – sharing your experiences shows vulnerability and models social-emotional experiences.  Just think about how you connect when you hear someone else’ story.  (Brene Brown – Daring Greatly is a great read on this topic)
  • The stories of others – truly listening to other’s stories develops trust and connections
  • The organizational story “Organizations carry their own core memories” (para. 8)

I’ve had the opportunity, as a Learning Consultant, to spend time in many classrooms from Pre-K to Grade 12.  It’s truly been the best PD opportunity of my life.  What I can share is that teachers work very hard to differentiate learning for students and to create equitable learning environments.  It doesn’t just happen by accident.  Equity develops in classrooms because teachers create a learning environment where it’s safe for students to learn, mistakes and all.  In life, it’s as much about what we learn from our mistakes as is is from what we learn when we get it right.

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Photo Credit: leighblackall via Compfight cc

Still with me on the bus trip?  We are taking a right onto Tech Boulevard. It might feel like a single lane highway with lots of oncoming traffic at times, but we’ll make it 🙂

So let’s add the technology lens.
There are many potential ways that technology can lay the foundation to create equity, especially if you apply the theory of universal design for learning “Many accommodations are “necessary for some, and good for all”, we should remember that assistive tech can support learning of all students” (Sider & Maich, 2014, p.3). Take the Voice note feature in

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Google Read Write.  When paired with a graphic organizer in a Google Doc, it can be a very powerful tool for a student that struggles with the act of writing.  Built in features can help a student listen to the text and then record a response.  In this case, it’s about the student sharing evidence of their learning. Writing isn’t a requirement of the outcome. Plus this tool can work for students that struggle with reading and writing and it can also be a useful tool for all of us.  A way to capture our ideas in the moment and play them back so we can organize and make sense of them.

Photo Credit: GillyBerlin via Compfight cc

Effectively matching an assistive tech support to a student is not a matter to be taken lightly.  Each learner has different needs and some assistive tech supports are easier for all students to have access to than others. There are also varying costs associated with assistive tech supports, which may impact who has access to it. Schools can support some requests while others may fall to the parents.

When you think about technology supporting student learning, I think there are two important questions to ask.

1.What’s the need?
(i.e. what specific support is needed to increase successful learning.  Is there a diagnosis? A professional report recommending specific technologies?)

2. What evidence of learning is the outcome asking the student to demonstrate?
(i.e. if there’s no reference to writing in full sentences, could the student just record his/her answer for you?)

Okay, so you’ve figured those out.  What supports are needed to scaffold the technology into the every day learning of the student?  Who’s doing that?

Don’t assume all the stakeholders are on board. Parents can offer insight into how they can support.  The teacher will need to be willing and able to incorporate this into their teaching and they will.  Just remember to check in with them and see where there comfort level is at.  What PD is needed?  What’s the time commitment? Lastly, don’t forget the student.  You can purchase the tech to support the student but if the student decides it makes them look different or doesn’t want to use it… that’s a whole other bus trip.

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Photo Credit: pantheist_bear_god via Compfight cc

Let’s step back for a moment and consider they ways in which technology isn’t creating equality but rather increasing the digital divide. The disagree side shared an insightful and provocative article by Audrey Watters entitled Ed-Tech’s Inequalities.  It will make you think about the proclaimed powers of Ed Tech – Techno-Solutionism (“the simplification of complex societal problems into apps and algorithms.“)  While tech may offer potential solutions, the reality of our world is this: Of those with access to technology and internet the benefits the people gain is related to their socio-economic status. The Matthew Effect… the rich get richer and the poor get poorer… in terms of tech use it means that what a child does with their internet access is tied to their parents which it connected to their upbringing and socio-economic status.  Students from more affluent homes will use technology in more creative ways to develop their digital literacy all while more likely being engaged with a parent. Children from lower socio-economic families tend to have very different expectations about the use of technology and how they engage with it. Often more drill and practice than engaged thinking.  It’s not just that we have access it’s how the tech is being used. Watter (2015) noted it’s even who is developing it in the first place that affects how tech develops.

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Photo Credit: Programa Acessa São Paulo via Compfight cc

Back up the bus…. how does all of that play out at school?  Have you stopped to consider just how much your actions and selection of technology potentially impact student learning? Have you stopped to look at how your students are using the tech? You can use the SAMR model to help guide your reflection.

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Image is the creation of Dr. Rueben Puentedura, Ph.D.

Tech certainty has the potential to give students a voice and empower them to demonstrate their learning in many ways, but don’t forget to step away from the hype.. or for me to step away from my love of tech (note to self = not everyone loves tech as much as me).  We need to step back and consider:

What’s the best tool (tech or perhaps it’s a pencil with the revolutionary eraser that I referred to in an early post)?  In the end, what’s going to have the biggest impact on student learning?

And with that our journey ends in the parking lot of technological equity…. does it exist? I guess that all depends what side of the bus you are on:)

Thanks to my ECI830 classmates for raising so many thoughtful points. Be sure to check out their blog posts this week:


Stay tuned for links to some of my favourite reads from this week.

  • Elizabeth drew my attention to Janelle’s post about that asked what kind of service are we doing to people if we just hand out assistive tech and don’t actually help students or teachers learn how to use it.  Providing support for new technology whether assistive or not is good practice. I think what’s really interesting is what happens to the tool when the support moves on… does that habit stay?
  • Danielle reflects on the topic from a variety of perspectives and encourages us to look at both sides.
  • Kyle reminded us that it matters that we invest in the people who are helping the students learn the technology. Creating opportunities for teachers to connect with Ed Tech support or Digital Consultants generates learning opportunities that go beyond the tech they are using, they have the potential to change a way a teacher teaches…. and that affects many students for years to come. !

 

 

Start the conversation…. Sharing Matters

 If you teach them how to share it’s more than fair!

This week the Great EdTech debate challenge fell to our team.   We represented the Disagree side of the debate which focused on: Openness and sharing in schools unfair to our kids.

If you are interested here’s our opening arguments.

As I first read through the questions, I wondered is it fair not to share?  Teaching in and of itself is sharing of knowledge.  Our goal as educators is to share our knowledge of a concept in a variety of ways that encourages deeper understanding in our students.  As Wiley and Green (2012) pointed out in Why Openness in Education, we even judge educators on their ability to share and impart understanding to students (para. 5 & 6).

So sharing is part of what we do as educators…. rather it’s the what, how and where we share that we really need to think about?  If you think back to when you were growing up, some of us perhaps, didn’t have to worry about the photo someone snapped at a gathering or comment that was shared.  Our networks were smaller.  Perhaps your embarrassing photo made the yearbook or a friend actually had the roll of film developed.  The chances of widespread distribution and repercussions were on a smaller scale.  Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t fun if the wrong person got a hold of a photo or some how continued to share things.  It wasn’t however on the same scale as social media provides today.  So keep in mind that many of us who are now parents didn’t grow up in a world with social media or cell phones (mobile phones came in bags and you could only use then in case of emergency because who could afford the cost per minute).

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Image from Meme Generator

 

Is the answer to attempt to remove technology from our lives and avoid any device that could capture our image so that facial recognition software can’t identify us?  I guess you can try but for the large majority of us it’s not practical; moreover, sticking our head in the proverbial sand won’t make the issue go away, but someone might make a nice meme out of it.

In my experience it’s about having the courage to step into the conversation with students and talk about what’s going on.  Is oversharing happening?  What type of images are being posted?  What if you just like or comment – does that make you part of it?  It also means that we need to model or attempt thoughtful digital citizenship the best we can.  This means that we need to know what engaged, thoughtful digital citizens do.  While we may not all have access to Digital Learning Consultants and I have to say thank-you to Thad, Kirk and Robert for their ongoing encouragement and support during my years as a teacher and consultant.  It makes a difference to have knowledgeable and reflective people to talk to about digital issues.  So as the Agree team mentioned during the debate, we live in the real world and ongoing to access to PD and support people may not always be possible; however, we do live in an age where there is ample helpful information online about digital citizenship and digital footprints. I first learned about the elements of Digital Citizenship on Mike Ribble’s website.

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What about oversharing?  You know it’s going to happen and it’s like a digital tattoo.  It has the potential to fade but never really go away. How do you prevent it?  I think it begins with open communication with our children.  As educators and parents,  we have a great opportunity to talk about the pictures we take and how we share them.  When you snap that pic and post it to Facebook, do you talk to your child about where you are posting it?  Am I posting it publicly for everyone to see on my profile or am I sharing it with a select group of people in a secret Facebook group?  Think about the conversation potential that exists with our Pre-K and K teachers as they document and share student learning with parents.  I’ve seen our early learning teachers engage in thoughtful conversations about what they are sharing and who will see it.  As a parent, I really appreciate getting the updates of what my daughter is doing in class.  Plus hearing her voice as she explains it is priceless. Sharing matters.

Worried about oversharing?  It’s happening all around us and it may be impacting our lives more than we know.

 

On the flip side, I remember back to a time when I was co-teaching my Bio 30 class with a teacher of a grade 5 class in a different community.  We skyped everyday and each grade 12 was paired with a grade 5 student in the 1:1 learning project.  We talked often about the expectations and how we needed to be engaged digital citizens, yet a grade 5 overshared info – nothing earth shattering but enough that the Bio 30 student was concerned.  What it did do was generate a healthy discussion about what was appropriate to share in our wikispace discussions and how we can learn from the experience.  We were working in a safe private space, so it was a great learning opportunity for all of us.  One that will hopefully remind us all to think before we share.

So starting the conversation early will help engage students and teachers in thoughtfully sharing positive experiences to grow their digital footprint, which in turn helps model the practice to parents and family that may not have considered those aspects.  Kathy Cassidy shared in her video that yes what we share in social media is permanent but because of that it’s a great way to look back and see how much we have grown. She also talked about the value of modeling how to use social media and in doing so how we influence student’s understanding of the world and practice empathy.

 

Steven W. Anderson shared Meredith Stewart’s tweet, “If you aren’t controlling your footprint, others are.”  He encouraged readers to start building their brand – their digital identity.  You do this by sharing and creating positive online footprints, but as the Agree team pointed out – you need to watch out for bouncing.  When a photo that you have shared gets used for something else. As Anderson pointed out, not only do you have to actively build a positive identity you have to monitor it.  Alec Couros noted in our follow up conversation that just googling our names doesn’t truly include all of our digital footprint.  We need to consider the data that is tracked in all the apps that we use.

Alec discussed how facial recognition technology is now available and when he showed us how it worked with his own images, we realized just how many people there are out there that look just like him. (I mean exactly like him!  They in fact are using one of his photos as their profile picture).  We have to learn how to be aware of the footprints we are actively creating, as well as those that are being created without our consent.

Should all of this scare you as an educator away from sharing? or considering the sharing of student work?  It’s important to consider the positive impacts of sharing. Rather than only relying on standardized assessments to ensure academic standards are being met. Bence asked “what if learner work were shared on a wider level so that the work could speak for itself.  She shared examples of how being transparent with what’s happening in the classroom has added “another layer of authenticity to education” (para. 4). Learners have become more active participants in their own education especially when they know the audience is more than just the classroom.  As with any online venture in education, Bence encouraged educators to check with their schools and districts to ensure practices align with responsible use.

Here’s part of our closing arguments from Tuesday night – sharing matters and it’s important to teach our children how to share.

You are welcome to check out our team’s resource list.  We’ve selected a number of articles and guides to help educators grow their understanding of sharing.

These resources are a great place to start.

What will matter in the future as our Facebook babies grow up and realize just what their parents and teachers have shared?  I can only imagine where we will be when I think about how things have evolved in the first half of my teaching career… or even in the last 5 years for that matter.

What matters today is that we start the conversation. Hopefully if we start today and engaging in ongoing conversations about digital citizenship, we will all learn to pause before we post and think about the potential ripple effect.

Regardless of social media or old fashioned information sharing asking ourselves the following question will impact how we try to live our lives.

What legacy do you want to leave behind?

Special thanks to Lisa and Haiming!  What a great team – glad to have had the chance to work with you!

As I’ve had a chance to read through other blog posts, these are a few that have stood out to me:

  • Jeremy B  explained we all need to engage in digital citizenship education.  He suggested introducing it to parents at meet the teacher nights as a way to engage parents.  He noted that it’s also about sharing the resources we have with parents.
  • Erin B shared her decision to share student work using Seesaw and how she shared expectations with parents and students.  It’s making the time to explicitly teach the students about digital citizenship and then apply it to their learning that truly makes a difference. Learning about digital citizenship in authentic situations truly makes a difference.
  • I really enjoyed Amy’s blog post.  In particular, she referenced a an article by Geddes  that questioned how quickly we post.  She pointed out that when we had to go to our computers, log in, find the photo, upload, add the comment and then post – that we were more thoughtful.  Has tech made it so easy that we’ve eliminated our thinking time?
  • Justine  – made a very interesting point – our digital footprints can change as our names do which build on the conversation started by Amy S.  I also agree that sharing a letter home with parents that invites them to participate and be aware of the social media use in a classroom is important.  If you remember Mark Prensky’s Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants articles, Justine shared a great way to think of the differences in ways that we use the internet as Digital visitors vs Digital Residents. She also shared this quick video.
    • Just listed to  Alec’s TED X Talk. A very thoughtful look at the value of understanding our digital identity and just how connected we are.  Lots of great ideas to think about here.
  • Tyler’s post Unfair? Nope.pointed out the value of helping students learn about digital citizenship and have the opportunity to practice it.  Plus he also shares some very helpful resources.
  • Luke’s post about “The More We Share, the More we Have” raises many thoughtful points about why we share what we do and the value included in it. You’ll also want to check out the oversharing video – well worth the watch.
  • Kelsie shared many great points but when she shared the Terms of Service – Didn’t read it website things got really interesting.